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Rep. Kline Calls Russian Behavior ‘Way Beyond The Pale’

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – U.S. Rep. John Kline talked about the Malaysian Airlines disaster, school lunches and more with Esme Murphy on WCCO Sunday Morning.

The downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane happened the day after President Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia to punish the Russians for their support of the Rebels. For many, the question now remains what more the U.S. should do.

“Clearly this is behavior way beyond the pale,” Kline said. “There is no question the Russians are backing the rebels, the separatists. We cannot tolerate that kind of behavior.”

Kline said that he supports providing the Ukrainians with lethal aid, or backing them with arms.

“They are a sovereign country,” Kline said.

Kline talked with Murphy about how current developments in Russia have the feel of a return to Cold War politics that characterized the 1980s, when he was working as a personal military aide to then-President Ronald Reagan.

“I found myself … saying ‘Soviet Union,’ even though the Soviet Union itself has been gone for some 20 years. But it does have that feel. We’ve seen the Russians show aggression in Georgia back in 2008, I think it was. We should’ve been alarmed then,” Kline said. “Then we saw the open aggression when they took Crimea, now in the eastern Ukraine.”

Kline also addressed the food fight, as it were, he’s involved in with First Lady Michelle Obama. Kline, currently serving as the chair of the House Education Workforce Committee, has said that new school lunch restrictions need to be rolled back.

“Everybody wants school kids to have healthy lunches, but this is a federal mandate that goes across the country, and it has some backlash. It has some clear downsides, because we have seen that it is very costly. In a five-year period it’s going to be over $3 billion of extra costs, and the schools have to bear this,” Kline said. “We’ve seen plate waste, that is kids getting the food and then throwing it away in pretty big numbers.”

Kline said that what he and others who share his concerns about the program are looking for is a level of flexibility, “not fights about whether or now a white potato is a vegetable.”

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